It is at this stage where government policy on immigration & asylum creates ‘Living Ghosts’. They are essentially airbrushed out of existence as ‘failed’ asylum seekers, but they remain here & this reality goes unnoticed by society at large.
Some receive support of a basic food parcel from destitution projects across the country -these are often facilitated through the goodwill & charity of faith & community groups working together with the British Red Cross.
The Lent Endurance Challenge (details on www.boaztrust.org.uk) is to live the life of a refused person seeking asylum for one week, in order to give you but a just small insight of how these people experience poverty in the
First day, found Vivienne, my wife, calculating how much food we are allowed each day:
too much vegetable oil!
½ cup of orange juice
½ cup of milk
3½ squares of chocolate
small handful of peanuts
2 teabags (no coffee!)
3 slices of bread
½ piece of fruit
plus whatever you could make out of the remainder
In my case I have opted to purchase oats (in lieu of semolina – which I suspect is too processed for my particular dietary needs) so I can have porridge each day for breakfast, granary bread, brown rice & additional fresh fruit – all of which allow me to maintain a Low G I diet for my diabetic control
I was diagnosed with diabetic symptoms just over a year ago & it is controlled by exercise, diet & tablets - so a week with a food parcel will be an interesting experiment! (I will also keep up my exercise & tablet regime which includes a number of supplements recommended by my doctor)
As a safety precaution I have decided to regularly test my blood glucose levels to ensure that I am not inflicting any lasting damage on my body
On a practical level - I filled the car with petrol today otherwise would not be able to function also I have decided I will use my car, email & phone for BOAZ work otherwise I will 'fast' from these (& in the case of the email & phone/mobile I'm looking forward to some peace! next week my inbox will be full . . . will be tempted to 'Select All' & 'Delete')
As today was Sunday we went to church & were able to have a sneaky cup of coffee, after the meeting – two asylum seeker friends also came back to lunch & we couldn’t expect them to eat ’food parcel fare’ (well that’s our excuse)
After lunch I met up with the local newspaper for a ‘photo opportunity’ with a family of three generations (daughter, mother & grandmother) who are all taking the Challenge - we exchanged notes & discovered we’re all ‘feeling the cold’ & feeling hungry
Last Friday I spent an hour being interviewed on the local radio, along with two asylum seekers, about asylum & the work of BOAZ - it seems there is a lot of interest in the media at the moment
Breakfast: porridge & 1 slice of dry toast
Lunch: Chicken & couscous and an apple
Dinner: 1 sardine on dry toast plus piece of chocolate (this is another variation apparently as a diabetic I am allowed plain
Bed time: Hungry!
Blood glucose level 6.3 mmol/L* (this is good nhs direct states that normal blood glucose levels are between 4 & 7 mmol/L)
* millimols per litre?